Short story, Writing journey

Flash fiction: The Story of Eeyore’s Tail

It’s time for some flash fiction. This was written for my writing group after being given the prompt:

Choose a well known fictional character. Write why they did what they did.

While everyone chose well known characters from literature by Charles Dickens, the only characters I could think about were from children literature including Eeyore from A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

animated-eeyore-image-0009

The Story of Eeyore’s Tail

Crushed against the wall Eeyore looked up at the small child next to him to see her eyes tightly closed. Maybe if he did the same, he would be invisible too instead of hiding behind a musty settee in the parlour listening to the stampede of feet on the wooden floor in the hall. Doors opened and closed, whispers silenced until all he could hear was the countdown from the hall.

Ten. Nine. Eight.

When Louise chose him from her menagerie of toys to attend Alexander’s birthday party he was so excited and proud he thought he would burst his seams. Instead of the colourful toys and her pretty dolls he, a round cloth donkey with his drab grey coat, had been seen at last and was the envy of all in the nursery. The party was all anyone could talk about; there was speculation on whether there would be ice cream as well as jelly, whether jelly really wobbled as described in the books Nanny read and what the cake would look like. Louise chattered endlessly about the dress she would wear and the need for matching new ribbons. All the toys worried about whether Alexander would receive his much desired catapult and if they would in turn be used for target practise but Eeyore hadn’t cared because it was him who would see the party first hand. Now, all he wanted was to be in the toy box with the others. Anywhere but here.

Seven. Six. Five. Four.

He could feel Louise’s heart beat faster and he prayed they wouldn’t be seen.

Three. Two. One.

“Coming ready or not”, bellowed Alexander. His loud footsteps faded into the distance and Louise took a deep breath.

It started so well. Eeyore was in awe with the scene in front of him; bunting decorating the room, every child wore party hats, the table was spread with birthday treats and was that the infamous jelly he could spy? Louise was ushered in and Eeyore watched as the gift she gave Alexander joined the growing mound of presents in the corner.  The children all sat down in a circle before passing a parcel to each other unwrapping layer after layer of paper when the music stopped until it revealed a prize for Louise and the first tantrum from Alexander ensued. Consoled with the promise he could open his presents calm reigned again but Eeyore felt the first tingle of apprehension. He tried to remember all the gifts he saw but his mind went blank when the dreaded catapult was unwrapped. The nursery toys would not be happy and neither was Louise. She held him tighter and tighter. Further party games followed with Alexander being declared the winner until it was time for hide and seek.

Eeyore froze as a thunder of shoes headed their way and the door creaked open.

“Found her” Alexander loomed over them causing Louise to squeal and run off without him. Eeyore felt himself snatched up roughly before he hurtled through the air from boy to braying boy. “Let’s play pin the tail on the donkey” one suggested. The small toy quivered in fear.  It silently screamed when they ripped his tail from his body. He wanted Louise. He wanted the sanctuary of the nursery. With a scarf tied over his eyes, a boy was turned round and round. It was only when the donkey saw his tail and a large pin in the lumbering child’s hand he knew what was coming. Over and over the pin jabbed into him to the sound of the boys raucous laughter.

“Time for food” a voice called. The children retreated. Left alone and discarded in the corner of the room, Eeyore began to cry. He never saw the cake nor knew whether jelly really did wobble and when he returned to the toys he refused to talk. His humiliation and shame of losing his tail was too great. Eventually he lay forgotten at the bottom of the toy box, shunned for his aloofness until one day he found himself in a different nursery with a boy called Christopher Robin. His life began again but he never forgot that day and he always hated birthdays.

 

Happy weekend and happy writing!

Ellfaenian Journals, Short story, Writing journey

Mathilde’s Book of Shadows: The Wrong Choice #FlashFiction

It is Friday a perfect day for Flash Fiction.  I am sharing a snippet of Mathilde’s Book of Shadows. Mathilde is the first witch to begin The Ellfaenian Journals.  This was found on a loose leaf of damaged parchment browned with age and stained with blots of ink.

Flash fiction: Mathilde's Book of Shadows

Mathilde’s Book of Shadows: The Wrong Choice

 

(illegible date caused by water damage) 

What have I done? I knew I was dealing with powerful magic, a raw, wild energy; the howling wind and churned sea warned me but now I see the consequences, I am aware of my naivety and foolishness of meddling with fate because of my deep, overwhelming love for him. 

Snuggled against Eldrid’s chest, I could hear his heart beat in time with mine. strong and steady. Relaxed and at peace while he holds my hand tight connecting him to me. It is at odds with the man I saw earlier when sweat gathered on his forehead, his heart was frantic while his muscular limbs thrashed until I woke him. When his eyes finally focused on mine I was struck by the fear they held. When I demanded he tell me what was wrong, my heart chilled and tightened as he confirmed my worst fear. There is evil in Ellfaen; it is gathering and refuses to let him go. Waiting in the shadows, it pounces when he falls asleep  The evil, he describes as The Dark, has followed him home.

Has he been given the gift of life in exchange for the curse of daily nightmares and terror? I created this situation; it is my responsibility to correct my interference but how?

 

Have a good weekend and happy writing

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

[instagram-feed]

 

Short story, Writing journey

Flash Fiction: The Shadows

It’s Friday! Time for some flash fiction inspired by the word prompt Shadows from The Fiction Cafe – Writer’s Group.

shadows word prompt

 

The Shadows

They are waiting. I tried to explain to my wife how they lurk and hide when she is there, retreat into the corners of the room out of sight. In her absence, they descend. The darkness deepens, the shadows grow as their fingers reach out to touch me, eager to grab and catapult me back into my nightmare. Their warm, putrid breath is warm on my neck.  I freeze. Terror squeezes my heart, clamping it tight. Sweat pours from my brow, cool on my shivering body and I scream until she returns to clutch my hand.

Short story, Writing journey

Flash Fiction Friday: Chinese Lanterns

 

This was written using the following writing prompt from my writing group

Chinese lanterns writing prompt

 

Chinese Lanterns

The glowing Chinese lantern rose high in the sky and then faded away into the distance.

“They are still here,” murmured Josie.

“Pardon?” my mum crouched down to hear my little sister’s muffled voice behind a tightly-wound scarf, but she refused to say anymore. Instead, she ran down the hill, flapping her arms as if she wanted to take off. We thought nothing of it.

We did not listen. Not when our rabbit disappeared, along with many others in the street and Josie whispered, “It was them”. Nor when my dad looked up from the local paper in shock at the sudden rise in dog abductions. We did not notice the lack of insects buzzing around the garden; we enjoyed the lack of flies infesting the wheelie bins. Birds no longer sang at dawn and we casually ignored it all.

It was the knock at the door we heard and the slam of Josie’s bedroom door. She stood at the top of the stairs dressed in her favourite clothes, along with her fairy wings crushed beneath an overpacked backpack.

She grinned and declared, “They are here”.

Short story, Writing journey

A Christmas story: The Journey

 

Hands in his pockets, he stood on the bank watching Rick, the landlord, attach the last of the fairy lights around the edge of the boat. It rocked in the water haphazardly as the rotund man stepped out.
“That’ll look good,” Rick said, nodding at his handy work with a grin. “In the dark. From a distance.”
George McDonald was not convinced. It looked what it was – a pole from one of the pub’s garden umbrellas strewn with tiny lights to give the illusion of a sail, added to an old canoe that had seen better days. In the bright winter sun, it was hard to imagine any child would accept this boat was special, fit for the most famous and magical man, never mind the whole village.
Trudging into the warm bar, George readily accepted the pint of his favourite beer, savouring the rich flavour before gulping it down and demanding another. He ignored the nagging voice in his mind, which suspiciously sounded like Martha, questioning the wisdom of drinking the first one, let alone the second. Or third. He needed Dutch courage, George told himself and if he found it at the bottom of his pint glass, that was good enough for him.
Later at home, George sat in the dark and a cold mist formed with every breath. He should really put the heating on he thought, and eat, as his stomach growled loudly, reminding him he had not eaten since breakfast. He shuffled to the fridge and remembered that he had not been shopping either. The hall clock struck five. The countdown to the time he was going to make a fool of himself had begun. Any false courage seeped away with every loud movement of the minute hand. He was not going to do it. No one should expect him to, and George longed to remain at home alone, not at the centre of attention and joviality. The landlord would have to do it, he decided. After all, he was the one who got him into this situation and he had the perfect physique for it without the padding George was expected to wear.
Martha had been so pleased when she had heard on the grapevine that George had drunkenly volunteered to be the new Father Christmas for the annual event. Finally, he was taking part in village life rather than being aloof in his shed. She loved everything about Christmas and felt a glimmer of pride that she would be married to Santa (albeit a fake one). Within days the sound of the sewing machine could be heard behind the closed door with an intermittent humming of carols. George had shaken his head, bewildered. It was only June. When asked, she declared no husband of hers was dressing up in a hole-ridden, threadbare costume. It was this suit that Rick had thrust into George’s arms as he staggered out of The White Horse earlier and the suit George was going to return.
When he went into the hall he heard the faint, gentle hum of a Christmas carol. Cautiously, he opened the door. The scent Martha always wore greeted him. This was her world. Rows of jars full of buttons lined shelves while fabric billowed from drawers. The radio that was always on sat quietly, and a woollen cardigan draped over a chair just as she had left it. He picked it up and brought it to his face.
As George turned, he saw, hanging behind the door, a red velvet cape trimmed with fur, draped over a green robe. It was a replica of the printouts of Father Christmas that were scattered a pin-board on the wall and reminiscent of the clothing Martha always spoke about when she recalled her childhood Christmases. As he caressed the fabric, he felt her near, urging him not to let the village children down, nor her. The arrival of Santa was a tradition she loved and always went to without fail. All except this one. A tear trickled down his cheek. It was only going to be a simple procedure. She promised she would be ok, but now the world was colder place and he was lost without her.
He slipped the costume on. He felt her warmth and imagined her smile as he was transformed.
“For goodness sake, stand up straight, George,” he heard her say. “Father Christmas does not slouch.”
The boat creaked as the local Scout Master escorted him around the village island for the third time. The bright colourful lights from the trees danced in the reflections on the water while the ducks looked at him curiously. The swan stood guard on the muddy bank, ready to warn him off if he got too close. The cheers from the children drowned out the sound of the brass band playing. They didn’t care about the boat. Rick was right, it did look all right from distance, in the dark… and by the time it was moored up, the excitement shown in the faces of the children covered up any misgivings he once had. Lifting the sack full of presents on to his back, George felt a genuine smile form on face, before saying in his deep baritone voice “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!”

Short story, Writing journey

The Cottingley Fairies Backlash Group

Bollocks! I could do without her at the meeting. I watch Edna creak in with the aid of her zimmer frame. Yes, you read that right – Edna. Not quite the elegant, ethereal Shakespearian name people expect. The days of Titania, Oberon and Morgan le Fay are over. Our parents thought they were being modern giving us up to date human names so my generation have an abundance of Ediths, Ednas and Mauds. They forgot popularity of names in the human race change in a blink of an eye and quickly disappear from use. They have come to their senses and becoming more creative, descriptive and nicer with naming their offspring while we are left with ours for many years to come, I hope.

“So is he coming?” they ask as they arrange themselves on these uncomfy hard, plastic chairs; they are not designed for wings at all. At first, I think they are inquiring about Zachariah, our oldest member but quickly realise they are asking about Trevor.

“He said he would”, I reply quickly crossing my fingers. No one can abide the man and his sneaky, slimy ways but we do love the black market wares he brings especially our favourite, Yorkshire Tea. We are quite happy to listen to him drone on and repeat his fictious tale about how he helped inspire this delicious blend of tea as long we can have some cups of this forbidden drink. I say forbidden, they are not as strict as they were about us drinking caffeine as they were in the soul crushing years of the Prohibition in the 1920s and we are unlikely to be raided for indulging in a few sips of brew.

I breathe a sigh of relief as Zachariah arrives with the help of his carer, Joseph who I hope will remember to shut the door behind him. The cold draft is causing my wings to ache. I need to tap into Zachariah’s wealth of experience of dealing with these pesky humans. We just need to keep his mind in the here and now rather than allow him to reminisce about his time with Shakespeare and his mischievous antics when he called himself Puck. He is a rare breed. As many of us have withered and died before our alloted time, he is centuries old and only now is rapidly showing signs of his age. I should be along with the others here having the time of our lives, dancing, being merry and luring unsuspecting men into our world with our flirty ways not flying with battered, creaky wings, fighting wrinkles and having shooting pains in our knees when we land. Many blame environmental factors, loss of habitat and the vices we enjoy but we know the truth.

It is all their fault, those Cottingley girls. Elsie and Frances.
Our elders warned us they were trouble and letting them see us then ultimately photograph us would come back to hurt us threefold. Being young as we were, we knew the world was changing with the advent of science and people wanted prove for everything including our existence. Without the power of human belief, we do diminish and die. Barrie and Disney were right about that part of fairy lore. The plan to allow a photo or two was perfect until the eldest child, Elsie placed paper fairies in the ground with hat pins and continued to photograph those instead. Paper fairies! We were all dressed in our finery ready to share our existence to the world and they took photos of cut outs instead. Some reasoned Elsie was at that age of teetering on adulthood and could not see us clearly so decided on direct action but others were fuming. The anger was mainly aimed at myself and those gathering here today. The air was blue that day, I can tell you.

It all came good for a while. People did believe the photos were real. Humans are gullible that way, especially when their worlds are turned upside down with war and catastrophe. The desire to believe in magic, supernatural and all things mystical flourishes which is perfect for us. They came in droves to visit the beck in the hope of seeing us themselves. Even big wigs and that fancy author, Arthur Conan Doyle from London. It was wonderful. The area was buzzing with anticipation of catching a glimpse of our ethereal forms. The energy their belief created boosted our population and we thrived. Our wings shone. When things began to crumble we let the youngest child, a sweet quiet thing see us again and catch us on film for real so our legacy could continue. We became world famous and it was all down to me.

Then they ruined it.After years of denial, they betrayed us. Both of them, even Frances who was adamant to many she did see us at the bottom of her garden. We know they have long gone now but their story has not been forgotten and those final headlines declaring us a hoax still exist but worse they are constantly being shared on social media. It is the final nail in our coffin. People are believing we are nothing but a figment of imagination, a joke or inspiration for online fiction. No wonder our wings are wrinkling and our hair is going grey prematurely. Our children have given up curdling milk and shooting Cupid’s arrow but prefer a bit tinkering on Tinder to find the perfect love match for people or create chaos by being internet trolls.

I have tried to calm my rage and hurt but it continues to grow. Direct action is needed. We need to take control. It is time to fight back and let the Cottingley fairies tell their side of the story about the girls at the beck. Heck, we may even share the secrets of the villagers. You wouldn’t believe the things people reveal and do when they think they are alone – that will get people tweeting or whatever they do and maybe they will begin to believe again.

But first, where is that cup of tea?

 

green-2602743_1920

Short story, Writing journey

Flash Fiction: Chickens

This must be one of the  most bizarre ramblings I have written but the prompt below popped up on Twitter via #turtlewriters so here goes.

Chickens

YouTube made it look so easy when we watched it over a few pints at The Beehive. All we had to take a few cells from the dinosaurs DNA we had and insert it into the chicken eggs. Daily,  we watched the clutch of eggs in the incubator Jack had nabbed from work. Waiting and waiting. Day 21, there was movement as a couple of the eggs wobbled. Anticipation filled the air. This was it. This was our key to being millionaires. We were going to be famous. A crack appeared. Then another. We all inhaled deeply and held our breath and out came – a BLOODY chicken!

Where was the clutch of miniature triceratops we were expecting? Simon, the nerd and brainchild of the project  just shrugged his shoulders before downing his pint.

That said we are still rich and famous. After all no one can resist taking part in the Chicken Derby on a Sunday afternoon.